I don’t have many pet peeves, but the few I do have occasionally jump the fence and run wild for a spell. One of those pet peeves involves a small group of outdoorsmen we kids used to call “slob hunters.” You know, the ones that go afield each hunting season only for the bragging rights to having killed something. They shoot from their pickup; they shoot from the road; they hunt after hours without licenses (known as poaching) they shoot at any kind of sound and movement; they blaze away at targets much too far away to identify. They’ll empty a deer rifle at anything running through the brush in the same township. They’ll empty an automatic 12 gauge at anything with wings. The safest place to be is often right in front of them as they swing wildly to fire at some blur streaking across the field, be it Whitetail, Appaloosa or Angus. Years ago, I bird hunted ONE time with a coworker who would fire 2 shots, then aim.
Some years back Joyce and I had garnered permission to trap and hunt turkeys on a dynamite out-of-the-way piece of ground northwest of here along the Little Arkansas River. Each time we were there we either saw deer or were astounded at the amount of fresh deer sign. The land owner had tentatively given us permission to deer hunt also, so the weekend before deer season opened that year, we drove there one evening at dusk intending to do some last-minute scouting. The owner was there fixing fence, and said he had understood we would be bow hunting. When he heard we would instead be rifle hunting, his reply was “Absolutely not; I don’t want any big rifles on this property, and I’ll tell you why!” He proceeded to tell us a disturbing story about how, some years back, he and his wife were cutting tree limbs and branches along the alfalfa field in front of us when a shot rang out and the bullet zipped through the trees mere inches from them both. “We had run the chain saw for 2 hours, so anyone should have known we were there” he added. This was the work of a slob hunter who had obviously shot at sound and movement along the river, or missed their intended target very badly (I can’t remember the last time I saw a deer use a chainsaw!) The hunter safety course devotes an entire chapter to firearms handling and safety, which includes subjects like positive target identification and knowing exactly what lies beyond your target.
That same year I had asked permission to trap a stretch of the river bordering the same afore mentioned property but owned by someone else who also lives nearby. Shortly after harvesting my fall turkey just across the river, I pulled into the other landowners drive to introduce myself and was greeted with an icy stare. He had heard my shot and was very uneasy at my presence there. As our conversation progressed, and as I convinced him of my trustworthiness, he became very cordial and friendly, and related to me the reason for his uneasiness; in the past few years, 2 of his horses have been inexplicably shot! It’s terribly far-fetched to think that both could have been from stray bullets, and I’m here to tell you that if a horse in any way resembles a whitetail deer through your rifle scope, you need eye surgery and a biology lesson!
Another major “pet peeve” of mine is trespassing and hunting without permission, and with the myriad of fall hunting seasons upon us, allow me to offer some pertinent information. In Kansas, law requires hunters to gain land owner permission even on unmarked property, so no signs of any sort are required for that landowner to regulate hunting on their land. Let me also note the difference between “hunting with permission only” and “hunting with WRITTEN permission only.” “Hunting with permission only” allows for any form of permission, written, verbal or over the phone, and requires the land owner’s signature on any ticket or formal complaint issued by the conservation officer. “Hunting with WRITTEN permission only” is satisfied only by permission in writing, and gives law enforcement personnel free reign to issue citations, and /or make arrests with no further authorization. By the way, land owners, the fish and game dept. furnishes both the signs and permission slips at no cost for this type of posting. I’m sure we hunters have all seen the bright purple paint on fence posts and old tires along property lines. These purple markers along property boundaries also mean “hunting with WRITTEN permission only,” and corresponding compliance is required.
Fellow sportsmen, we don’t need to give hunting and trapping any more black eyes, so please be absolutely certain of your target when hunting and always error on the side of safety if you’re not sure. Get the required permission to be on someone else’s property and make sure that landowner understands exactly how you will be using their land. Be safe and take someone hunting or trapping this year as you continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors!
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected].